I had been in contact with Saxo Capital Markets a couple of weeks prior to today about riding in their corporate team for the Annual Financial Review Corporate Cycling Challenge. I was definitely not going to turn down this offer. This morning me and three other rider from Team Saxo went to the Athlete Lab in Circular Quay, Sydney to do an exact race simulation of the course we will be competing on in late October. To make this possible, the Athlete Lab uses Computrainers which take in factors such as the profile of the course (gradients of hills), the riders weight, drafting behind other riders and numerous other factors to make it as real as can be. This was the first time on one of these trainers and was really pumped to give it a go.
There were several other companies also competing throughout the morning to try and post the fastest time. Shane Kelly, Olympic cyclist was also there this morning which was great to see and had a race with the CEO's and myself. We got some tips from the guys at the Athlete Lab before our race and the key was to workout the drafting so all the riders stick together. The final time is calculated when the 4th rider crosses the finish line. The course in which we compete on in October is 2x 6.15km laps around Sydney Olympic Park so we used today to get a bit of course familiarisation and get to know the team mates.
Our race started just after 7am and team Saxo was set to go. The course itself was pretty flat, a few minor hills but overall really fast. It took a bit of time getting use to the trainers as none of us had used one and the drafting factor definitely makes a difference so it was important that we made the most of it. We were off to a good start, our group had formed well and was moving along at a solid pace. It was hard when one of the riders lost the draft as they fell back very quickly and also when some went off the front the pack started to break up a bit. By the second lap we had it sorted and was able to work better as a team. Nearing the end, the last km was all uphill and with the team tiring it was hard to keep together but we managed to keep it fairly tight and completed the 12.3km course in just over 20mins.
About 10min after I had completed my race I was asked to compete with the CEO's of the companies there. Thought I might as well race due to the enjoyment although I was feeling a little tired. There were 8 or 10 riders and it was every man for themselves, although drafting was still turned on so it was going to be a tactical ride. The course was exactly the same, so I was familiar with the profile and ready for a good hit out. The race was on, off to good start, no early breakaways so the everyone sat in for the first few km's. Once the hill came along the group started to break up and a lead packe formed of about 6 riders including myself. A lap had passed and we were working really well, a couple of times some riders attempted at a break but none successful. I just sat in most of the ride and did a couple of turns at the front. It was now down to 2km and everyone was getting nervous, just waiting for that person to attack from behind. Now under a km and still no attacks, I was sitting about 2nd wheel and waiting for about 500m to go. About 400m to go I went, I couldn't hold off any longer. I was closely followed by the rest of the pack, 200m to go I was still in the lead, it wasn't until about 100m to the finish the guys sitting on my wheel got 'slingshotted' around me and I had to settle for 4th. However, I finished with a time of 18:30mins so was really happy with that.
I really enjoyed my morning at the Athlete Lab and being able to use to Computrainers. The staff were great up there, all very helpful and encouraging. I was also able to meet a few new people as well which was good. Very keen to get back up there and try out some different courses, also think Team Saxo is planning a training session up at the Athlete Lab to practise the course so also looking forward to that.